A Travellerspoint blog

Honolulu

pictures and update

Since Dad and Hattie arrived, we've been at the Hale Koa hotel in Waikiki, catching up with old friends and relatives, and returning to hot spots that we used to frequent. Here are some pictures:

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More pictures on my flickr page:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38006937@N08/

Posted by e1quarnst 21:22 Comments (2)

Honolulu, HI

The Aloha State

Yesterday I arrived in Honolulu, the city where I was raised. My Aunt Janie picked me up at the airport, and we went straight to the mall, where I picked up a new Macbook and an Iphone, as well as some other essentials that I can't find in Shanghai. At my Aunts house, I was able to see more family and catch up (the last time I came to visit was in 2003).

Today, I woke up early and headed to Waikiki for a morning of scuba diving. On the first dive, we dove down about 107 feet to see a World-War 2 era plane wreck. It was the deepest dive that I have logged so far, but because of the depth, I didn't get much bottom time.

The second dive was in a volcanic cave. There wasn't much coral, but we saw lots of fish and turtles, and definitely the most exciting - an endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal! He was pretty friendly, and extremely cute.

Our guide brought along his underwater camera, and he'll give me the photos tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing my sister and father, who will arrive at 3:30.
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Posted by e1quarnst 17:41 Comments (2)

England

London

England

On August 20th, Val and I woke up early to catch my 10am flight to London. After a tearful goodbye with her at the airport, I headed off to England. My buddy Ed picked me up at the airport. I’ve known Ed since 2007, and he was in every Chinese class with me during our four semesters at ECNU. We headed to his home in Surrey to drop my stuff off before heading to Hampton Court, which is not to far from Ed’s home. I learned all about Henry the 8th and his wives, as well as other members of the Royal family that lived there. And the grounds of the palace are equally as visually stunning. We got lost in the maze, but eventually found our way out.

The next day we woke up bright and Early and headed for London. The first thing we did was drop of my passport at the Chinese Embassy. Then, we headed for Piccadilly Circus – not a circus at all, in fact, but the Times Square of London. We then walked down to Leister Square, then down to the House of Parliament building. Then we stopped over to Westminster Abbey before meeting Josie in front of Buckingham Palace. We walked through the garden in front of the Palace to the Churchill Bunker, which was really interesting – they had everything restored just as it was during WW2. There were huge maps on the wall with pins depicting enemy and allied movement, as well as rows and rows of phones used to communicate with allies all over the world.

Next, we headed to Downing Street. Along the way, we passed by some Mounted Royal guards and took some pictures. We then walked around London some more before having dinner at a nice Thai restaurant. After dinner, we went to see “We will Rock you,” the musical written by Queen. After a long day, we finally went home and collapsed.

The next day we headed into the City to pick up Anne-Laure, another former classmate of ours in Shanghai. We spend a large part of the day at the Tower of London, which was fascinating. We got to see the crown jewels, including the largest diamond in the world. Afterwards, we took a boat cruise down the Thames to the Greenwich. We watched a show at the Royal Observatory and took pictures at the Prime Meridian – the 0’0’0 latitude and longitude lines.

Posted by e1quarnst 08:32 Comments (2)

England

Just Pictures, but more later

Hampton Court:
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Picadilly Circus:
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House of Parliament:
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Windsor Castle:
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Surrey:
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Buckingham Palace:
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Central London:
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StoneHedge:
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Devon:
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Tower of London:
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Royal Observatory:
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Plymouth:
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Cornwall:
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Dart Moor:
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Lego House (under construction)
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Posted by e1quarnst 16:49 Comments (3)

Кремль и Красная площадь

Kremlin and Red Square

Yesterday we woke up bright and early and headed to Central Moscow to see Russia’s most famous site – Red Square. On the way, we stopped off at the old KGB building, which now houses the FSB. Before entering Red Square, we paid our respects to the Unknown Soldier at the monument with a forever-burning flame. Along the way, we passed a giant statue of General Zhukov, the hero of the Great Patriotic War. Also standing outside of Red Square were actors dressed as Stalin and Lenin. It was funny.

Next, we headed into Red Square. The first you see as you enter the gates is the beautiful, classical architecture of the State History Museum. In front of the Kremlin wall lays the body Lenin in his mausoleum. Buried to the left and to the right of the mausoleum are the bodies of other Russian’s who, for better or for worse, have had significant impacts on the country – Stalin, Brezhnev, Sverdlov, etc. Across the square is the old “State Department Store,” which is now the classiest place for shopping in Russia. At the southern end of square is St Basil’s Cathedral (the church from Tetris!!!!!)
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After we finished in Red Square, we headed to the Kremlin. The security check was crazy. When we finally got in, we were mesmerized by the sites. We saw the 40-ton Tsar Cannon, The Archangel Cathedral, The Hall of Facets, The Annunciation Cathedral, and the Great Kremlin Palace. I rented an audio guide in order to get a better understanding of all of the places.

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We ate our packed sandwich lunch in front of a beautiful fountain in Alexandrovsky garden. We then dozed off on a bench for a while until Valery’s Mom joined us. Also joining us was her friend Olga. Val’s Mom took us on an interesting walk, explaining to us the background of a lot of interesting buildings and streets in the city. We ended our walk at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, where we met up with 5 more friends of Valery’s. 3 of them will soon be studying abroad in China, so I exchanged them some RMB for Rubles.

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Next, all of us headed to the Russian exhibition center (USSR Economic Achievements Exhibition), built in the 1930’s, and then expanded upon in the 50’s and 60’s to highlight the success of the Soviet Economic System. We hopped on the giant Ferris wheel and got a great view of the park. We then head dinner at a nice restaurant. I talked for a while about living in China, and told the girls that will be studying there that they should contact me if they ever plan to visit Shanghai.

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Posted by e1quarnst 02:29 Comments (2)

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